In the wake of the Crisis that began in 2008, the priority was to save the global economy. Now, saving the planet is front of mind once more – and that means a fresh focus on renewable energy investment. Andy Thomson sought views on current and possible future trends.
Four leading renewable energy investment professionals – three representing the equity side of the financing equation, and one debt – are gathered at offices in London belonging to Deutsche Bank. On the surrounding walls are works of art by Frank Auerbach, who left his Berlin home for England aged eight and never saw his parents again. This experience of loss is expressed in his paintings which – according to the description underneath one of the artworks – seek to “pin down something before it disappears”.
This sense of impending loss is the motivation for those who seek to halt, or at least slow down or mitigate, the effects of climate change on the planet. In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the prospect of economic rather than environmental meltdown was the prime concern and climate change responses were somewhat deprioritised. But those around the table believe, as GFC-related shockwaves begin to subside, that the tide is turning once again.
“The Rockefeller Foundation has said it is withdrawing from investments in fossil fuel industries, and climate change has moved back into the focus of public debate,” says Dominik Thumfart, a managing director and head of infrastructure & energy in the capital markets and treasury solutions division at Deutsche Bank. “AP4 [the Swedish pension fund] says it wants to completely decarbonise its portfolio and that’s a massive fund,” adds Nick Wood, founder and chief executive of real asset investment firm Resonance Asset Management. “There’s a real sense that we’re back on track in tackling climate change issues.”
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